The new, ultra-luxury condominium towers proliferating across Manhattan and crowding the skies all have something in common — high prices and killer views.
With many high-end projects boasting similar panoramic scenery and impressive amenities, like a free Rolls Royce and a personal helicopter pad, developers are stuck in the middle of an overcrowded luxury market. At the top, it’s a challenge to make one $25 million penthouse apartment stand apart from the other. Amidst this opulence overload, developers are trying to claw their way out and gain an edge over the competition.
Billionaires’ Row contains eight residential skyscrapers, and spans across the southern end of Central Park along 57th Street. The first thing that comes to mind when hearing ‘Billionaires’ Row’ is in the name — money, and lots of it. The exclusive stretch of buildings is a playground for the elite to flaunt their exuberant amounts of wealth and to enjoy some of the most coveted residences in the entire world. Yet, the sky-high prices demanded for these properties are proving to be a little bit too pricey for the market, even for the richest of the rich.
There are currently 39 sponsor units listed on the market between the eight buildings, with several more units selling privately off-market. The average listing price among those 39 units—17 of which are listed at $20 million or above—is an astonishing $22,409,579. To put that into perspective, the average price for a new condo in Manhattan is $5,855,677, about a fourth of the value. When you exclude new listings on Billionaires’ Row, that average drops over 10 percent to $5,221,556.
$5.2 million may still seem steep for a new Manhattan condo, but that number can be attributed to the nearly 30 new development units outside of Billionaires’ Row selling for $20 million and above. To get a better sense of the premium expected on B-Row, average price per square foot numbers are over double — $5,666 per square foot versus $2,682 per square foot for new development units in Manhattan outside of Billionaire’s Row.
High prices and market uncertainty have left a glut of inventory in the upscale market, where developers are waiting patiently to be swept away by well-off buyers. Here’s a rundown of what’s available in each building on Billionaires’ Row:
Credit: Central Park Tower
- Developer: Extell Development Company and SMI USA
- Architect: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
- Size: 179 units, 95 stories
- Estimated completion: 2020
- Average listing price: $23,741,286
Central Park Tower will top out at 1,550 feet, making it the tallest residential building in the entire world. The projected sellout of $4 billion will crown Central Park Tower as the most expensive condo project ever in New York City. These units don’t come cheap — how could they at a project with a name like Central Park Tower?
Sales officially launched in October 2018, but did not open to the public until May 21st, 2019. The initial release included just seven units that ranged from a 2,114 square-foot, two-bedroom unit on the 33rd floor, up to a 7,074 square foot, five-bedroom unit occupying the entire 112th level. Current availabilities range from $6.9 million to $63 million.
According to the offering plan, the average price per square foot will be just around $7,000, with twenty units expected to be priced at $60 million or more. Unit 53 will span nearly 8,000 square feet and will be the only unit in the building to contain its own private pool. According to the offering plan, Unit 53 will try to fetch an asking price of around $95 million. Unit 107 will span nearly 12,000 square feet over two floors and will have seven bedrooms. Unit 127 will also be a duplex, and will contain eight bedrooms spread out over almost 11,000 square feet. The crowning triplex unit, Penthouse 129, will contain seven bedrooms and include nearly 16,000 square feet of living space. Unit 107, 127, and PH 129 have yet to receive price tags, which can only mean that they will be expected to attract something astronomical.
The amenities club, dubbed Central Park Club, will offer nearly 50,000 square feet of luxury amenities spread across three floors. The opportunity to live in the highest residence in the world will come with its own media room, a private elevator lobby, a library, an observatory, a grand ballroom-like entertaining space, a private gym, and 30-foot ceilings. On the 16th floor, there will be a landscaped terrace with a 60-foot pool, and the 100th floor will contain a grand ballroom with a cigar bar and private dining room.
Central Park Tower will surely be considered one of the most prestigious addresses on earth.
- Developer: Extell Development Company
- Architect: Christian de Portzamparc
- Size: 132 units, 90 stories
- Construction completion: 2014
- Average listing price: $18,526,818
Completed in 2014, One57 was the first supertall building to be constructed in the area, marking the beginning of what is now considered the most prestigious corridor in New York City. Soaring over 1,000 feet tall, One57 sits almost right in the middle of the southern edge of Central Park on 57th street.
Beginning on the 32nd floor, the One Collection runs up to the 38th floor and offers fully furnished one- to three-bedroom residences. The Signature Collection begins on the 39th floor and includes expansive three- to five-bedroom residences all the way up to the 90th floor. The Park Hyatt New York hotel sits at the base of the tower which allows residents to experience the five-star services provided by the hotel. Residents can have immediate access to in-room dining and housekeeping services.
About 85 percent of the units at One57 units have sold since sales launched back in 2011. Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, bought the crowning duplex penthouse for $100 million back in 2014. The purchase held the record for the most expensive home ever sold in New York City until billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin bought a property at 220 Central Park South in 2018. Another unit in One57 on the 75th floor sold for $91.5 million shortly after Dell’s purchase. There are currently 11 sponsor units available, that ranging from $3.85 million to $58.5 million for a four-bedroom residence on the 87th floor.
Credit: 111 West 57th Street
- Developer: JDS Development Group, Property Markets Group, and Spruce Capital Partners
- Architect: SHoP Architects
- Size: 60 units, 82 stories
- Estimated completion: 2020
- Average listing price: $29,928,571
111 West 57th incorporates the landmarked Steinway Hall and a newly integrated tower which will include 14 and 46 residences. At 82 stories, this is currently the third tallest residential building in the world.
These full-floor and duplex units are not shy about their Billionaires’ Row price tag. Current listings start at $18 million for a 4,500 square foot three-bedroom residence on the 32nd floor. A duplex penthouse on the 74th floor is listed for $57 million and includes over 7,000 square feet with four bedrooms. A duplex penthouse on the 61st floor went into contract this spring for $58 million, making it one of the most expensive deals of 2019 in New York City. The exact number of units under contract is unknown, however the developer reports that the building is around 20 percent in contract. The Steinway Hall portion of the building is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, while the tower portion is expected to be finished in early 2020.
Credit: 520 Park Avenue
- Developer: Zeckendorf Development and Global Holdings Management Group
- Architect: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
- Size: 35 units, 64 stories
- Construction completion: 2018
- Average listing price: $20,500,000
Featuring just 35 units over 64 stories, each residence in this limestone condominium tower spans the entirety of each floor. The 12,400 square foot triplex at the top of the building was reportedly asking for $130 million, but could not find a buyer. That residence has now been divided into two separate units — a $40 million full-floor residence and a duplex that will try to sell in the range between $80 to $100 million. Neither listing is on the open market.
Four duplex penthouse units have sold in the building so far, all for over $60 million. These sales made the building home to the three most expensive sales in 2018. Despite the extraordinary prices, 520 Park Avenue is one of the best selling buildings in the New York ultraluxe market. Since sales launched in 2015, 23 of the 35 units have sold, with every single sale going for at least $15 million. In 2019 alone, a whopping seven units have already found buyers, totalling nearly $230 million in sales. The only currently available unit in the building is a four-bedroom unit spanning the entire 19th floor, asking for $20.5 million.
- Developer: Hines, Pontiac Land Group, and Goldman Sachs
- Architect: Jean Nouvel, SLCE Architects, Adamson Associates Architects
- Size: 145 units, 82 stories
- Estimated completion: 2019
- Average listing price: $19,658,000
Standing at over 1,000 feet above the MoMA, 53 West 53rd is the furthest south out of any development on Billionaires’ Row. The staggering prices and amazing views are what lands 53W53 into the collection. The building contains 145 residences, which includes six duplex units and six penthouses. Four years after hitting the market, just over 30 percent of units have gone into contract, while closings expected to commence in 2019.
The priciest unit to go into contract is a 4,300 square foot three-bedroom duplex that went for $33.575 million. Currently, the only penthouse listed for sale is a $63.8 million four-bedroom duplex that spans nearly 8,000 square feet across the 76th and 77th floors.
53W53 should reach construction completion sometime in 2019.
Credit: 432 Park Avenue
- Developer: CIM Group and Macklowe Properties
- Architect: Rafael Viñoly Architects, SLCE Architects, Handel Architects
- Size: 104 units, 96 stories
- Construction completion: 2015
- Average listing price: $28,000,000
At nearly 1,400 feet tall, 432 Park Avenue once held the record for the tallest residential building in the world, until Central Park Tower and 111 West 57th surpassed that title.
The most expensive sale in the building occurred in 2016, when the 8,255 square foot top floor penthouse sold for $87.7 million. The 95th floor penthouse originally tried to sell for $82 million, but developers opted to split the unit into two separate units. One of those units recently sold for $10 million under the asking price for $30.7 million, while the other penthouse was listed at $41.25 million, but is currently off market. Most recently, a 4,000 square foot penthouse on the 94th floor went into contract in June for $41 million.
The only sponsor unit for sale at the building right now is a full-floor unit on the 34th floor with six bedrooms, asking $28 million.
Credit: 220 Central Park South
- Developer: Vornado Realty Trust
- Architect: Robert A.M. Stern, SLCE Architects
- Size: 118 units, 6 stories
- Estimated completion: 2019
- Average listing price: N/A
220 Central Park South is the only building out of the billionaire bunch that is located directly below Central Park South. It’s location makes it impossible for any other future skyscraper to block its views of Central Park.
The project is split between two components. The first is an 18-story ‘Villa’ which houses ten residences, each with their own private terrace overlooking Central Park. The second is the 79-story ‘Tower’ which includes 108 units. Both components are accessible through their own off-street, private entrance and motor courtyard. Homeowners can enjoy The Residents Club, The Artisans Club, or The 220 Athletic Club & Spa, which include any amenity you can ever imagine.
Listings are not public, but 220 Central Park South is reportedly nearly 85 percent sold with the majority of units selling for over $20 million. All Villa units that have closed have fetched more than $30 million each.
Griffin bought the most expensive home in United States history when he purchased the $240 million quadruplex penthouse back in January 2019. British musician Sting recently closed on a $65.75 million penthouse at the top of the Villa portion of the building.
Credit: 252 East 57th Street
- Developer: World Wide Associates and Rose Associates
- Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, SLCE Architects
- Size: 95 units, 59 stories
- Construction completion: 2016
- Average listing price: $27,000,000
The crown jewel of 252 East 57th is the full-floor penthouse unit, which offers a stunning 360 degree view, stretching 8,139 square feet across the entire 65th floor.
Originally hitting the market in October 2017 for $37.5 million, the penthouse saw a major price drop just six months later and was relisted at $29.75 million. Now, a year after the 21 percent reduction, the sprawling penthouse has yet to find a buyer and is dropping the price again. A new team from Douglas Elliman just re-listed the penthouse for $27 million in hopes to attract a buyer looking for this unique opportunity. The team from Elliman happens is the same real estate sales team that closed on the largest residential sale in US history with Griffin at 220 Central Park South.
At 99 percent sold, the penthouse sale is just the last piece of the puzzle for the developers at 252 East 57th.
The fact that so much luxury product remains unsold — in some cases, ten years after sales began — speaks to a quagmired market with too many competing high end projects.
In a softening market, patient buyers may eventually get their chance to own a piece of Billionaires’ Row. Yet, the new mansion taxes that went into effect on July 1st, 2019 could scare away buyers. Homes over $1 million, which includes all residences listed on Billionaires’ Row, will cost homebuyers an extra 1 percent of the price. The mansion tax brackets will grow incrementally and top out at 3.9 percent for sales over $25 million. The rush of home sales right before July 1st still only made a small dent on the large number of high priced homes on the market.
With a large portion of Billionaires’ Row inventory remaining unclaimed, even after years on the market, the question remains — what’s next for Billionaires’ Row and how will wealthy buyers and sellers react to changing market conditions?
Header photo credit: Pexels